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Routine care

In this section, we've provided some information about everyday patient care, including how we wean patients off the ventilator or breathing machine and how we make sure that they are as comfortable as possible (sedation). Rehabilitation also begins in the Intensive Care Unit, so we've included information about the role of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and speech and language therapists. 

 

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Article: Diaries in Intensive Care (patient information)

What is a diary? A diary is a booklet written for patients about their time in Intensive Care.  Some Intensive Care Units use patient diaries and some don’t. They’ve been used for a number of years in other countries, but are only just beginning to be used in the UK. More research is needed to find out if and how they help. Why might (some) patients find a diary helpful? You might not be able to remember what happened to you in Intensive Care, or have strange dreams or memories...

Article: Fluids and medications

Fluids When patients are connected to a ventilator or breathing machine, they are unable to drink normally. Fluids are therefore given directly into the bloodstream via drips or lines.The nurses carefully monitor and record how much fluid the patient receives along with the patient's vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure,etc), daily blood tests and how much urine they pass to make sure that he or she is receiving the right amount of fluids. Medication Medication can...

Article: Getting to know you as a person

Getting to know patients and families as individuals is a huge part of what we do in Intensive Care. We know that this can greatly improve your experience of Intensive Care and can aid your recovery, by helping you to be more involved with, and feel more positive about your recovery. Finding out more about you can be difficult, whilst family members are not allowed to visit the Unit. Some Units have set up family liaison teams to help us do that. They or other staff may have called your...

Article: Handover

The nurse will usually start the shift by hearing about the patient's progress since they came into Intensive Care and over the previous shift (handover). She or he will usually carry out a full assessment of the patient by checking their charts (including things like vital signs, blood results and medications), checking that all equipment is working as it should and carrying out a full body assessment (eg checking the patient's skin, including any wounds and dressings and...

Web Link: Humanising the ICU (delirium, PPE, patient gardens & ICU diaries)

This is a podcast from Mark Hudson, a former ICU patient. In it, he speaks with Kate Tantam, an ICU Sister in Plymouth about the many ways in which staff are working towards improving patients' experiences of ICU during the pandemic. They discuss, for example, delirium (e.g. being confused or having strange dreams), and how therapeutic ICU gardens and diaries can be for patients. They also discuss the impact of Intensive Care on family members. It's around 40 minutes long, but is...

Article: ICU ward rounds

Patients in Intensive Care are reviewed many times a day by the various different staff involved in their care, and continuously by the nurse at the bedside. Medical assessment The medical staff will usually do a full patient assessment at the start of every shift (both day and night shift). This will include things like the patient's vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc), their blood results, X rays, medications and medical notes, among others. ...

Article: Infection control

Why is infection control so important in Intensive Care? Patients who are in Intensive Care are more at risk of getting infections. This is mainly due to patients being so unwell, and because some of the equipment we use can increase the risk of infection.The breathing (or endotracheal) tube, for example, provides essential support, but can increase the risk of lung infection. The lines and drips we use to monitor the patient or give fluids and medications can also increase the...

External Video: Insight into ICU (a short video)

This links to a 20 minute webcast by staff and former patients from the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.It provides some interesting and useful insights into what happens in Intensive Care. Several patients share their experiences of their time there.While we are not currently able to offer some of the services provided in this webcast, we hope you find it useful.

Web Link: Intensive Care - What it is and Does

This link will take you to the NHS Choices website, and their pages on Intensive Care.There is some easily understandable information on what Intensive Care is all about, and what to expect in terms of visiting, treatment and recovery.

Web Link: Medicines explained

This link will take you to an NHS page explaining how 100s of different medications work, what they're for, how to take them and possible side-effects. It's not exhaustive, but we hope you find it helpful.